A reader recently emailed me about a nuisance I have long noticed but never realized was a fine-able action: placing trash on the curb too early in the day: I've just moved back to Clinton Hill, which has some of the most beautiful streets in the entire city. But they are less than lovely on the days before trash pickup. On pleasant summer afternoons and early evenings we have to walk past, and try not to look at, bags of trash put out on sidewalks much earlier than they need to be. The day before recycling pickup is the worst, since so much of the trash is in clear plastic bags, or in bundles, or just loose.
According to Sanitation regulations, it cannot be put out until 5 p.m. on the day before pickup, but that's still 4 hours before dark, spoiling the view for people coming home or going for a late-afternoon stroll.
According to a 311 operator, Sanitation will issue summonses for trash placed on sidewalks before 5 pm, but they obviously don't. I doubt if most people even know about the 5 pm rule (it used to be 8 pm during Daylight Saving time, and that should be reinstated). But the emphasis should be on consciousness raising and voluntary compliance in the interest of keeping the neighborhood beautiful.
I'm going to keep an eye out to see when the trash near me appears on the sidewalk. What do you think? Is 5pm too early? I can see how having a later limit would be more difficult for large residential buildings (even though they create the biggest trash piles), but it would be nice to see (and smell) less leaky trash bags on a pleasant stroll.